TSA chair calls for royal commission on housing
A royal commission should be set up to recommend a 20-year housing strategy, the chair of the Tenant Services Authority has said.
Anthony Mayer used his last major speech as chair of the regulator, which closes at the end of the month, to call for housing to be ‘taken out of politics’.
Mr Mayer, speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing south east conference in Brighton yesterday, said: ‘Increasingly the issue of housing is beyond politics and I would be strongly of the opinion that we need a serious royal commission chaired by somebody really estimable to basically examine the topic of a housing strategy for this nation for the next 20 years.
‘By which I mean a proper strategy not wheeze after wheeze after wheeze equals a policy and then policy plus policy equals a strategy.’
Mr Mayer also criticised the government for not wanting to take action to improve conditions in the private rented sector.
He said: ‘government wants to keep [its] hands off.
‘I don’t think that is good enough given the role of the private rented sector in terms of replacing accommodation that would have been part of the owner occupation sector but also increasingly in providing for people on housing benefit.’
Mr Mayer said he is in favour of landlord accreditation schemes and said he does not understand why the Treasury is not doing more to support tax increment financing, under which councils borrow against future tax income to raise money for development.
In an earlier session at the conference, David Montague, chief executive of London & Quadrant, said there needed to be a more planned approach to the private rented sector and contrasted the situation in the UK to that in Germany, which has a large private rented sector but with more security for tenants.
He said: ‘We are moving towards the German model but in an unplanned way.
‘Our version of the German model will be less affordable with lower quality and less security.’ Mr Montague said public land should be made available to encourage investment but in return there should be more security for private renters.
Mr Montague said associations are ideally placed to provide the scale and yield required by institutional investors, such as pension funds. He said associations should grow their build to rent activity using their balance sheets until they have the track record to more easily attract institutional investment.